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What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People Paperback – April 15, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 989 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School—This book illustrates which nonverbal clues telegraph untrustworthiness and deception and which radiate sincerity and compassion. In this fascinating take on body language and the ability to decipher it for use in everyday life, Navarro emphasizes that while knowing the reasons for certain behaviors—like touching one's neck—can be useful in "reading" people, they are not foolproof barometers of deception. A former FBI agent who commonly used these techniques to help crack cases, the author cautions about jumping to conclusions and encourages using clusters of nonverbal patterns to help discover whether a person is lying or just under stress. One chapter is devoted to the brain and its limbic system, which controls those involuntary quirks of behavior. Black-and-white photos illustrate different points throughout. This book is a worthy research tool, and a good addition to larger collections.—Charli Osborne, Oxford Public Library, MI
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“A masterful work on nonverbal body language by an exceptional observer. Joe Navarro’s work has been field-tested in the crucible of law enforcement at the highest levels within the FBI. I cannot praise the book enough.” (--David Givens, Ph.D., author of Crime Signals and Love Signals)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; 1 edition (April 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061438294
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061438295
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (989 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Matthew P. Gray on October 11, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thought some of the negative reviews were a bit critical of this book. This book lays a solid foundation to reading non verbal actions or "tells". I've read several other books on this subject and thought this was a solid read and I was very happy with my purchase. There is no single book offered that will turn you into an expert over night.

It is important to realize that reading people is a skill. You don't become great at it over night or an expert right after reading the book. Just like any other skill, you have to practice and work at it. You develop the skill of paying attention and picking up on the little things. Once you are able to do that, you then have to determine what all of those things mean. I'm a single male, small business owner and avid poker player. Being able to read people can be very useful in dating, business and at the poker table.

One thing that is very interesting is that some actions or "tells" are very common and seem to always mean the same thing. Other actions or "tells" are unique to each person. What may mean one thing for one person, may actually mean the opposite when done by another person. The "magic" of being able to read people is being able to determine what those actions mean for individual people. Sometimes it's not an action at all but it is what people DON'T say or do that can paint you the entire picture.

In my business, I use my ability to read people to determine whether or not they are being truthful or are uncomfortable with something. If I see them acting in a certain way that makes me believe they are uncomfortable, I go out of my way to explain things to them so that they might be more comfortable with the situation or outcome.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been in law enforcement for close to 30 years on a large agency- I am always on the lookout for useful tools of the trade that I can use and pass along to my investigators. This book is great! It is packed with useful information. No, I am not a shill for this book and do not know the author- although I have met many professional law enforcement investigators who have written good books and manuals. I am impressed with the insights and natural techniques contained in this book. I am ordering a copy for all the investigators in my unit, I am that impressed with this book. Sure, there is always something about any book that does not satisfy a reader- but I honestly must say there is little about this book that I didn't like.

UPDATE 6/2016: It's been over 7 years since I wrote this review. Time flies... I still regard this is a "great book" and highly recommend. I since have retired from my command position with the department I worked for (retired 3/14), where I was in charge (Captain) of the investigative units that handled homicides, sexual assaults, child abuse, domestic violence, internet crimes against children, juvenile division, elder abuse, financial crimes. Feel free to look at the size of the agency- [...]

My rank was Captain, and the entire investigative division was the Central Investigations Division. Over my nearly 4 decades in law enforcement (since retirement I have joined another agency as an investigator), I have raked in hundreds of training hours attending countless classes, seminars, conferences dealing with advanced investigative techniques- including interviewing and interrogation, reading body language, etc.
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I had high expectations for this book because I read many of the overwhelmingly positive reviews before purchasing. Yes, this book is a fairly good read, but is not a great resource for reading body language. There are a lot of 5 star reviews posted from law enforcement mentioning how essential this book is to reading body language. Honestly, I am 20 years old and have no experience in law enforcement and I still found this book to be full of basic information. I think the most important message this book sends out is to pay attention when people are talking- not only to what they're telling you, but also what their body is telling you. If you pay attention, you'll notice when someone is comfortable or uncomfortable in response to certain questions or stimuli.

Since I found that a lot of the points made in the book are easy to pick up on and understand, I will point out some of the points I highlighted as interesting. If you have a decent amount of life experience, I think you'll find that you know as much as I do or more on the topic already.
- "When there is stress, the lips will begin to tighten and disappear" (Lip Compression)
- "We purse out lips or pucker when we are in disagreement with something or someone, or we are thinking of a possible alternative"
- Concealment of hands (under tables, behind objects) should be avoided because this can be perceived as uncomfortable, withdrawn, sneaky, or deceptive.
- Finger pointing is an offensive gesture.
- Steepling of hands is a sign of confidence.
- Thumbs sticking up, or sticking out of pockets is a display of confidence.
- Stroking of fingers or palms is a sign of nervousness/ low confidence.
- The feet are the most "honest" part of the body.
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